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Sacrosanto: Finding the Holy Place

Sacrosanto: Finding the Holy Place

Herbert Willi is a small man with a shock of white hair, a slight build and calm, blue eyes. He agreed to meet just after the Wednesday rehearsal of his violin concerto Sacrosanto that would have its world premiere with soloist Nikolaj Znaider and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) under principal conductor Manfred Honeck one […]

Klaus Maria Brandauer: The Outsider as Insider

Klaus Maria Brandauer: The Outsider as Insider

The cobalt blue lights of the Gartenbaukino glow seductively against the night sky as the crowd converges for the Viennale premiere of The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich, a new film by Austrian director Antonin Swoboda, and starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. Opening 18 Jan., it is the first Brandauer has made in three years, and […]

Helmut Schüller’s Call to Disobedience

Helmut Schüller’s Call to Disobedience

The small, single-nave church slowly empties, as parishioners pile out into the wintry, bright Sunday morning. Like most weeks, the 12th century Romanesque church of Probstdorf, a farming village a 45 minute drive east from Vienna, had been almost full. “I’ve come from the neighbouring village,” says a woman in her mid-40s. “I don’t like […]

Honoured Dead

Vienna loves a beautiful corpse – eine schöne Leiche – so the saying goes, but at the funeral of Otto von Habsburg, the last Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary on July 16, it was difficult to tell who or what that corpse actually was. Granted, Otto’s black-and-gold draped coffin stood in the middle of the five-hour-long […]

Clerical Disobedience

Austrian Catholic priest Helmut Schüller, formerly General Vicar of Vienna and President of Caritas, has called for massive reforms within the Roman Catholic Church, going so far as to appeal to the Pope. Schüller’s formal “Call for Disobedience” (Aufruf zum Ungehorsam) is supported by 1,624 clergy and laiety as of Aug. 22, including 429 fellow […]

Austrian Cardinal Denies Role in Abuse Scandal

Allegations of child abuse amongst Austria’s Roman Catholic clergy are again in the spotlight with revelations that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn knew of the abuse and did nothing to stop it, as claimed by a former member of one of the diocesan ombudsman offices set up for victims of violence and sexual abuse in the church. […]

God, the Devil and Us

The applause of the large audience echoed in the Camineum of the National Library, Mar. 24, as Golden-Globe-winning Austrian actor and director Klaus Maria Brandauer and Vienna’s Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn made their way to the brightly lit podium at the front of the hall. While waiting for the murmur to die, the two men […]

Austrian Leaders Say ‘No’ to Strache

Austrian Leaders Say ‘No’ to Strache

When H. C. Strache, leader of the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) waved a wooden crucifix in front of a rain-soaked yet heated crowd at an anti-mosque demonstration in Vienna’s first district last month, he opened the flood gates of criticism from Austria’s leaders. Not only are Austria’s top politicians now saying “enough is enough” […]

Denial Of Love

Denial Of Love

Austria’s Roman Catholic Church is in trouble again. And, once more, the issue is sex. But while past scandals have sprung from allegations of carrying on among priests and priests-to-be – including the revelations in the mid 1990s that the Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër himself may have been a pedophile – the focus […]

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